We’ve just returned from an exciting trip to the Isle of Skye for the 2014 Clan MacLeod Parliament. More than 200 members of the of the worldwide Associated Clan MacLeod Societies gathered in the village of Dunvegan near Dunvegan Castle, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years.
Every four years, clan members meet for a week of clan-related activities, known as Parliament. The week included business activities to discuss and agree actions on issues raised by the national societies spread around the world. The nine national societies are in Australia, Canada, England, France, New Zealand, Germany, Scotland, South Africa and the USA. However, the major purpose of Parliament is to have fun and meet fellow MacLeods from around the world. Many delegates proudly wore badges showing their attendance at up to ten previous parliaments. We were thrilled to see so many of our international MacLeod friends along with many Texas MacLeods gathered at Dunvegan this year.
Delegates had the opportunity to attend daily ceilidh workshops and then put their new-found skills into use at the closing ceilidh on the Friday evening. There were workshops/lectures on the music of Scotland, tours of the Castle and Gardens, trips to the Trotternish peninsula and Raasay, a barbeque in the Castle grounds and a whisky tasting session!
Parliament delegates enjoyed a superb week of sunshine: the famous Black Cuillin mountains and MacLeod’s Tables provided a spectacular skyline. One of the highlights of the week was a visit to Dunvegan Castle by HRH The Princess Royal. Her visit – two years in the planning – was arranged to commemorate the attendance by HM The Queen at the first MacLeod Parliament meeting in 1956. Princess Anne was greeted by Clan Chief Hugh MacLeod of MacLeod who showed her round the Castle and its beautiful gardens. During the visit, all two hundred delegates were presented to Princess Anne when she formally opened an impressive gazebo in the walled garden; the gazebo had been funded by the Clan Societies and was dedicated as a memorial to Hugh’s father, Chief John.
We hope to see all this year’s delegates again in four years. If you haven’t already become a Clan MacLeod member, sign up now so you can join us in 2018! Also, remember the Clan has a number of exciting Youth Programs that also take place during Parliament….so bring the whole family!